Latex has a huge range of commercial uses from gloves to balloons to mattresses. Often overlooked, though, are latex pillows, which can offer a number of excellent benefits, especially to side and back sleepers.
Give the natural properties of latex, these pillows can provide a high level of loft while maintaining a responsive and supportive cushion for the head and neck. At the same time, there are downsides to latex, including its weight, potential for odor and allergies, and its cost.
This guide reviews everything that you need to know about latex pillows including how they’re made, their sizes, their pros and cons, and the people who are usually best suited to using them. Keep reading to find this information, or click here to jump straight to our recommendations for the best latex pillows.
What Sizes do Latex Pillows Come In?
Latex pillows are available in a several sizes. The sizes that you will typically find include the following:
|Pillow Size||Dimensions||Best Mattress Fit|
|Standard||20″ x 26″||Twin or full mattress|
|Queen||20″ x 30″||Full or queen mattress|
|King||20″ x 36″||Queen, king, or California king mattress|
|Body Pillow||20″ x 48-54″||Any|
- Standard: 20” wide x 26” long. Standard pillows are compact and fit in almost all pillowcases. This is the most common size for pillows in the U.S.
- Queen: 20” wide x 30” long. With an extra 4” of length, pillows in the queen-size are mostly preferred by people who need a longer pillow to give cushion to their head when turning over frequently during the night.
- King: 20” wide x 36” long. With 10” of added length compared to a standard pillow and 6” more than a queen, a king-size pillow is considerably larger and offers even more cushioning for people who turn over a lot. These pillows are also often used as backrests to help with sitting up in bed comfortably.
- Body Pillow: 20” wide x 48-54” long. Body pillows are significantly longer than normal pillows because they have a totally different way of being used. Instead of supporting the head and neck, body pillows are used for snuggling with or for providing a bolster to the front or back of the body.
What Are Latex Pillows Made Of?
Latex is a type of rubber. Latex can be derived naturally from rubber trees, and it can also be produced synthetically (using petrochemicals). However, it is extremely rare for a latex product to be 100% natural; usually there is some amount of synthetic latex included. Latex that is labeled as “blended” latex is more likely to be composed mostly of synthetic latex.
Types of Latex
Latex can be produced and formed through two processes that are known as the Dunlop and Talalay processes.
- Dunlop latex is made through a process in which the latex is stirred, molded, and then baked. Because some sediment gravitates toward the bottom of the mold during this baking process, Dunlop latex tends to be more bottom-heavy and less homogenous. It is generally considered to be a firmer latex product.
- Talalay latex is made through a process in which the latex is first vacuum-sealed and then frozen before it is baked. The effect of these pre-baking steps is that the latex is normally more homogenous and lighter. It tends to have a softer and springier feel.
While both types of latex may be used in bedding products, Talalay latex is what you will most commonly find for pillows.
Types of Latex Pillows
Latex pillows can be made in two different ways. One-piece pillows are made with one large chunk of latex that is then placed inside a cover. Shredded latex pillows are made with many small shards of latex that are encased inside the pillow. This makes the pillow more capable of being molded or shaped. Some shredded latex pillows have zippered covers that permit you to remove some of the latex in order to alter the size or firmness of the pillow.
“Natural” or “Organic” Latex
Terms like “natural,” “all-natural,” “green,” and “organic” get used regularly to describe latex products. It is important to be aware that often these terms are used without any regulation or clearly-defined meaning. For customers who place a premium on finding products that are produced according to high standards for social and environmental accountability, we suggest looking for products that are certified according to the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS). We believe this to be the most reliable certification related to the production of latex textiles. For more information about green bedding materials and certifications, you can review the information in our guide to the Best Green Mattresses.
What Are the Pros and Cons of a Latex Pillow?
Like all types of pillows, latex pillows offer a number of different benefits and downsides that stem from the specific properties of this material.
- Support: latex is a responsive material, which means that its shape can adapt to the individual based on the weight that is applied to it. This helps the pillow offer pressure point relief around the neck and to promote proper alignment with the rest of the body, specifically the spine.
- Resilience: in addition to being responsive, latex is also resilient, which means it can quickly bounce back to its original shape once weight is removed. For people who re-position often in the night, this can be useful as it prevents them from feeling like their head is sinking or stuck in the mattress.
- Quiet: latex makes little or no sound when you move on it, so it is very unlikely to cause any noise disruptions during the night.
- Low Heat Retention: unlike memory foam, which has a tendency to retain heat, latex usually avoids this issue and sleeps cool.
- Durability: latex holds up well even with regular use, and as a durable material, can be expected to last for several years before performance starts to degrade.
- Cost: latex is often more expensive to produce, and as a result, latex pillows have a higher average price point than many other options.
- Weight: the nature of latex is that it is a heavy material, so these pillows weigh more and may be more difficult to move around.
- Limited Selection: there are not nearly as many producers of latex pillows as there are for other pillow types, which tends to place a limit on the number of pillows available at different price points, firmness levels, and sizes.
- Allergies: not everyone can use a latex pillow because some people have allergies to latex.
While the information above applies to latex pillows in general, there are some specific differences between one-piece and shredded latex options. These differences are described in the table below:
|Shredded Latex Pillow||One-Piece Latex Pillow|
|Moldability||Easily molded; can be scrunched into varying shapes||Not malleable; keeps primary shape|
|Fluffling||May need to be fluffed to get rid of lumps and to get it back to normal shape||Holds its shape and does not need fluffing|
|Weight||Not light but does not feel weighty||Heavier and weightier|
Where Can I Buy a Latex Pillow and How Much Will it Cost?
While latex pillows are not nearly as common as other types, they can still be purchased both in-stores and online. In-stores, they may be carried by department stores and other big retailers that sell bedding products, including mattress stores. However, if you plan to shop for a latex pillow in stores, we advise calling ahead to find out about their inventory.
Online, you can find latex pillows from big e-commerce websites like Amazon as well as from the online sites of many brick-and-mortar stores. You will find a greater diversity of brands and models if you are shopping for these pillows online.
The average price for a latex pillow is between $40 and $60. This is more expensive than many other pillow types, as demonstrated in the table below.
|Pillow Type||Average Price|
|Latex||$40 – $60|
|Down||$70 – $100|
|Down Alternative||$20 – $30|
|Feather||$25 – $50|
|Buckwheat||$50 – $75|
|Memory Foam||$50 – $60|
|Polyester||$10 – $15|
Who Is Best Suited For Using a Latex Pillow?
The best pillow for you depends on your specific needs and comfort preferences. The table below helps you understand which sleepers are most likely to do well with a latex pillow.
- Side-sleepers: a responsive surface is an important feature in a pillow for side-sleepers as this plays a key role in keeping the neck properly aligned with the rest of the body. The mid-range loft of a latex pillow also is often a good fit for side-sleepers.
- Back-sleepers: back sleepers usually do best with a pillow that comforts the head but is neither too soft nor too firm. For this reason, a latex pillow, with its responsiveness and resilience, can be a good fit.
- People who prioritize a cooler pillow: anyone who has a tendency to sleep hot or to feel that their pillow retains too much heat will usually have a higher level of satisfaction with a latex pillow compared to other responsive materials like memory foam.
- People who want more loft / consistent shape: given the durability and weightiness of latex, customers who want more consistent loft can find that with most latex pillows.
- People who have latex allergies: clearly, people who are allergic to latex should opt for a pillow made of a different material.
- People who are very sensitive to smells: latex can give off an odor that some people find off-putting, so extremely smell-sensitive customers may want to choose a different pillow type.
- Stomach sleepers: the loft-level and firmness of a latex pillow is typically too much for stomach sleepers and can cause excessive curvature in the spine.
Latex Pillow Ratings
In order to better understand the performance of a latex pillow, you can review the ratings listed below. For each category, these ratings are on a scale of 1 (Poor) to 5 (Excellent).
Latex is not a low-cost material, so the average cost of a latex pillow is high. The price tends to go up if any kind of specialty latex, such as GOLS-certified latex, is used.
Latex is a sturdy material that should provide several years of use before facing any issues with wearing down.
Because it is both responsive and resilient, latex is able to conform to the head and neck rapidly, offering an excellent level of support.
These pillows usually must be spot-cleaned rather than put in the laundry, so they take a bit more effort to keep clean.
The fact that overall there is more limited availability of latex pillows means that there tend to be fewer options when it comes to loft and firmness levels. Most latex pillows have a medium-to-high level of loft.
Latex can give off a chemical or rubbery smell, especially when it is first removed from its packaging. This smell may go away, but it can persist at a low-level that may disturb people who are very sensitive to smells.
Latex is a heavy material, and one-piece models tend to be the heavier of the two types of latex pillows.
Latex will be almost completely noiseless when you move your head on top of the pillow.
Our Top Latex Pillow Picks
Even though there aren’t as many latex pillows available, it can still be intimidating to try to identify the top picks. To make this process easier, we’ve chosen our top 3 latex pillows and described them below.
This one-piece latex pillow is a no-frills option at a price point at the low-end of the average for latex pillows.
Why?: This pillow has one large chunk of aerated latex that is kept within a 300 thread-count cotton cover. The cover is removable and machine-washable. The combination of thickness and responsiveness offers a consistent yet comfortable feel.
Why Not?: Some odor can be expected with this pillow, and because it is not modlable, it is not a good fit for people who want to be able to adjust the feel of their pillow.
The Bottom Line: for people who are interested in trying out a latex pillow, this is a simple and straightforward option that has been well-reviewed by most customers.
This latex pillow from Malouf is available in either a plush or firm model. Both models offer a high level of loft through their one-piece latex construction.
Why?: This pillow is made with Talalay latex, which gives it a softer and more luxurious feel, even for the firmer model. The latex is also aerated to help prevent heat retention.
Why Not?: Currently this pillow is only available in Queen and King sizes, and its cost is comparable with many down pillows — in other words, out of the price range of many customers.
The Bottom Line: Despite its high price tag, the Malouf pillow captures the unique feel of latex that can work well for many sleepers.
Using a combination of Dunlop and Talalay latex, this model from Savvy Rest leads the pack when it comes to shredded latex pillows.
Why?: This pillow comes deliberately overstuffed with latex and has a zippered cover, allowing you to customize the pillow to achieve your ideal level of loft and firmness. In addition, shredded latex provides more ability to mold the shape of the pillow in real-time.
Why Not?: The Savvy Rest pillow is expensive even in a standard size, and while it comes with plenty of filling, this amount may be overkill for many customers. Removing a lot of the filling may make some purchasers feel as though they are paying good money for material that they can’t or don’t want to use.
The Bottom Line: Even though it will take a bigger chunk out of your wallet, the Savvy Rest is the best choice for people who want the convenience associated with the adjustability of a shredded latex pillow.